The Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media degree provides students with theoretical and practical frameworks for understanding media development, production, distribution, and its multiple social, political, cultural, and cognitive effects domestically and globally. We aim to produce graduates who are theoretically grounded, digitally literate, and sensitive to the ways in which power affects media production, distribution, representation, and access. In our program, we generate a lively and stimulating socially conscious based and intellectual environment—one that allows every student to expand the scope of his or her cultural experience. The program is broad-based, focusing on a wide range of traditional and alternative media including television, radio, recorded music, journalism, publishing, the world wide web, and new communication technologies within their cultural, social, historical, economic, global, and political contexts. The goal of the degree program is to develop theoretically informed and critical consumers and innovative creators of media texts.
The program requirements for a degree in Mass Media include core courses which form the foundation of study and electives that allow the student to develop their interests according to their intellectual and career goals. As all coursework is aligned with the four cornerstones of the degree —Theory, History, Criticism, and Production—the core program provides a theoretical and methodological foundation for critically analyzing and creating media. Students in the Mass Media major will develop a general understanding of the relation between media texts and production processes, power, and culture through breadth and depth course requirements. Students will complete courses across the following three concentration areas as well as completing more in-depth study in the concentration of their choice: Media Uses and Effects (MUE), Media Organizations and Systems (MOS), and Mass Media Production (MMP).
MUE: Media Uses and Effects
Courses in this area emphasize research and theory about:
- The ways that individuals, groups, enterprises, and institutions use mass media as part of routine activity; and
- The ways that information distributed by mass media and practices associated with the use of mass media affect individuals, groups, cultures, and societies.
MOS: Media Organizations and Systems
Courses in this area emphasize research and theory about:
- Mass media distribution and regulatory systems (national and international);
- The development and functioning of media organizations;
- The development and functioning of media industries;
- The effects of governmental regulatory bodies on mass media development and distribution.
MMP: Mass Media Production
Courses in this area emphasize:
- Training in the production of video, television, film, recorded music, digital multimedia, news, and radio;
- Understanding of the communication processes that shape routine production activities and the resulting products;
- Understanding of the conventions guiding media production;
- Understanding the influence and application of media technologies; and
- Understanding politics and ethics related to use of, and access to, media technologies.
Student Learning Objectives
Students who graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Media will be able to:
- Acknowledge and reflect upon their multiple roles and responsibilities as media producers and consumers within a range of contexts;
- Critically examine practices and processes underlying the conception, development, production, completion, marketing and distribution of mass media forms;
- Analyze the functions and/or relationships in media organizations and systems through a variety of conceptual frameworks and at different levels of analysis, including studies of historical, political, economic and regulatory issues around media/communication technology and studies of industry practices, routines and social interactions within media organizations;
- Develop proficiency in media equipment, differentiate traditional from innovative production techniques, and apply theoretical frameworks to the study of mass media products and forms;
- Analyze a media topic, form, or theme from a variety of perspectives or levels of analysis;
- Design distinctive media products that push the boundaries of their chosen media;
- Utilize critical media literacy frameworks to analyze representations;
- Identify the ways in which media shapes and transforms personal, societal, and global identities; and
- Understand and utilize media as a tool for social change.
The Mass Media degree prepares students to understand the complexities of building and managing careers in media industries and occupations. They learn how media production and distribution organizations operate, as well as how media industries are structured and regulated. Students learn media production skills and develop media products that they can present to prospective employers. They also study the types of work interaction that commonly occur in such organizations by examining collaboration, teamwork, and production schedules.
The Mass Media major at CSUSM emphasizes the interrelation between media industries, media products, cultures, and social structures. As media technologies converge, the B.A. in Mass Media will provide students with skills and analytical tools to help them examine, understand, and manage the consequences of change. In particular, the Mass Media major emphasizes the relationship between technological change, production conventions, and organizational structures. With a foundation in studies of communication, culture, and interaction, the major provides students with understandings of the types of professional discourse, work interaction, and organizational structures that shape mass media careers and products.
The B.A. will prepare students for a variety of occupations that work with mass media. These include:
- Production, distribution, and management positions in television, video, motion picture, multimedia, music, radio, news, and publishing enterprises;
- Careers in telecommunications and mass media regulatory organizations; and
- Positions that work with mass media in advertising, marketing, promotions, and public relations departments of private, government, and public service organizations.
The Mass Media B.A. also will prepare students who want to pursue graduate or professional degrees with knowledge of theories and research methods that will prepare them for advanced study.
High school students should take four years of English, including Composition. Social Science and Civics courses, including History and Economics, are encouraged. Familiarity with computers and the Internet is also desirable.
Community college transfer students may transfer a maximum of six (6) lower-division units and must have earned a grade of C (2.0) or higher in the coursework to be counted for credit toward preparation for the major.